The General Secretary of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Johnson Asiedu Nketia has called for a total shutdown of Parliament following reports of 15 COVID-19 cases recorded in the House.
According to Asiedu Nketia, it is surprising that institutions that recorded cases of COVID-19 in the country were closed down to avoid the further spread of the disease but Parliament continues to operate despite recording such cases.
Speaking at the 41st Anniversary Celebration of the June 4th uprising on the theme ‘Strengthening the spirit of patriotism, resilience and integrity in difficult times’, Asiedu Nketia could not fathom why COVID-19 “cases have been detected in Parliament and Parliament is still sitting. What are they telling us?”
“Why is Parliament not closing down? Is Parliament above the law they themselves make? Is that the democracy we are making for ourselves? Everybody has a responsibility to protect this democracy, and the only way we can do it is to insist on the rule of law. There is nobody independent in this country of the law. The only people who are independent are the masses who are at the repository of the sovereignty of Ghana,” he added.
Following mass testing of Members of Parliament and parliamentary staff on May 20, 2020, it emerged that some of them had contracted the virus.
Parliament denied the claim but Minority Chief Whip, Mubarak Mohammed Muntaka, insisted that two of his colleagues and 13 parliamentary staff have tested positive for the virus.
“What happened in Parliament and what you heard [about MPs testing positive for COVID-19] is the fact. It is the truth,” Mr. Muntaka insisted.
Muntaka said, after health officials were done picking samples in the House last Wednesday, they realised that “one MP and one staff tested positive and on Thursday, one MP and 12 staff tested positive for COVID-19.”
‘Parliament won’t be shut down because of coronavirus’
The Deputy Majority Whip, Matthew Nyindam has already rubbished suggestions that Parliament will have to shut down because of the novel coronavirus.
“The House will not shut down. Business will have to continue,” Mr. Nyindam insisted to the media.
He suggested that observing the safety protocols would be enough to ensure MPs and staffers are safe.
Addressing the media, the Kpandai MP said: “The protocols that they have given us are protocols that we all must observe. Members of Parliament, we are not superhuman.”